Authors:
D. J. Walker Department of Botany, University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2.

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N. C. Kenkel Department of Botany, University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2.

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Accurate and unbiased radiative energy transfer models are critical to our understanding of ecosystem primary productivity, carbon cycling, and climate change. Much of the current research in this area is based on models parameterized for grasslands and broadleaf forests. However, many temperate montane and boreal forests are dominated by conifers, which present unique challenges to modellers. We propose two fundamentally different strategies by which plant canopies optimize solar radiation interception. Laminar canopies (e.g., grasslands, broadleaf trees) are .solar panels. that directly intercept incoming radiant energy. By contrast, conifer canopies are conical anechoic (.without echo.) surfaces that intercept radiant energy by scattering it through the canopy. The properties of anechoic surfaces are well known in acoustical and electrical engineering, but have not been applied in environmental biophysics. We discuss the physical principles of anechoic surfaces, and demonstrate how these principles apply to conifer trees and canopies. A key feature of anechoic interception is low radiance over all wavelengths, which is an emergent property of the system. Using empirical data from boreal forest stands in Riding Mountain National Park (Manitoba, Canada), we demonstrate that conifer canopies have very low near-infrared radiance compared to laminar broadleaf canopies. Vegetation index values for conifers are thereby reduced, resulting in underestimates of primary productivity and other biophysical parameters. We also discuss the adaptive significance of boreal conifer geometry, and consider factors driving selection of laminar versus anechoic canopy architectures.

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Community Ecology
Language English
Size A4
Year of
Foundation
2000
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
per Year
3
Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
Founder's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Publisher's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
CH-6330 Cham, Switzerland Gewerbestrasse 11.
Responsible
Publisher
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 1585-8553 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2756 (Online)